Buying Guides

4 Excellent Gas Cars with Great Mileage

No hybrid, no electric, and no crap cars

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

Yes, more and more electric cars are showing up, and they're definitely the impending future of automobiles. But if you want an EV, you have pay up. Even hybrid techology costs more than conventional gas. But you don't have to pay more for efficient gas engines that get the kind of miles we could never dream of a couple of decades ago. Here are four very affordable gas cars that nail the MPG game with flying colors. And they're not just efficient but well made, great to drive, and come with solid sets of standard features.

2020 Hyundai Accent

 
  • PROS: Looks pricier than it is, updated styling is clean and almost sophisticated, handsome interior, available manual transmission up the fun, easy to use infotainment, great set of standard features.
  • CONS: Cramped back seat, tires squeal when the car is pushed.

At a base price of $16,125 and 33 city/41 highway/36 combined mpg, the little Hyundai is a miser that doesn't look like one. Like a shrunken Elantra, the brand's handsome design language carries over even better than its bigger brother. The 120 horses might not be a lot, but its light body and capable suspension make it fun to toss. For 2020, it drops 10 horses in favor of gas mileage, but you won't miss the power much at all since the 1.6-liter four-cylinder is spritely and willing. It also comes standard with a 5-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary ports, and just so happens to get a Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS.

2020 Kia Rio

 
  • PROS: 10% efficiency gain from last year, entertaining to drive, superb infotainment system, roomy for front occupants.
  • CONS: Tight in back, small-ish trunk space.

The new Kia Rio sedan is the brother of the Hyundai Accent and gets the same 120-hp 1.6-liter engine and CVT. The same efficiency numbers are there, too (33/41/36 mpg), so you know it's going to eat up the miles without draining your wallet. We actually like the looks of the Rio better than the Accent thanks to a more aggressive front end and a thicker overall look through the body. It's also quite fun to drive given its efficient leanings, and it looks more expensive than its $16,675 price tag would indicate. Unlike the Accent, the Rio comes with a 7-inch touchscreen standard, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Perhaps more important than all of this is the fact that it's zippy and fun to drive in the midst of top notch mileage numbers.

2020 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

 
  • PROS: Racy redesign makes it look more expensive, great new interior is attractive and easy to use, standard safety suite is impressive, solid handling.
  • CONS: Infotainment is still just okay, tight quarters in back.

The Corolla Hatch is a brilliant offering from the brand that gave us total boredom not long ago. The Corolla is now split into two great (and efficent) cars in the form of sedan and Hatchback. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder gets 32 city/42 highway/36 combined mpg and just so happens to have solid handling chops, excellent standard safety features, and great hot hatch looks for a $20,245 base MSRP. The 169 horsepower engine isn't a beast, but it's plenty of power to entertain. And you can even get a manual transmission to up the fun quotient, but even the CVT gets a first gear to kick things off nicely. What's important for commuters is the fact that you won't get drained at the gas pump.

2020 Honda Civic

 
  • PROS: Upgraded engine is still really efficient, new fascia looks cleaner, huge room inside, remarkably rewarding to drive, top safety features.
  • CONS: Some plasticky bits inside, overstyled rear end.

The 2020 Civic base LX Sedan version now has the upgraded 2.0-liter engine instead of the 1.5 turbo, but it still manages to get 32 city/42 highway/36 combined efficiency. The $19,550 base priced Civic also happens one of the best cars to drive in almost any class. It's nimble and has excellent steering and brakes to make driving spirited and entertaining. The inside is roomier than you'd expect, too, making it seem like an Accord from a few years ago. For 2020, there's also finally a physical volume knob instead of the annoying slider, and you also get a 5-inch touchscreen as standard equipment, as well as Honda Sensing's cruise control, forward collision mitigation, and lane departure warning with lane keeping assist.

How can gas engines be this good?

  • Small displacement and more efficient technology bring them to the modern age.
  • Lighter materials help reduce overall weight.
  • Improved aerodynamics keep wind resistance low.

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